Fifty Years Of Life In Retrospect
“How does it feel” Lulu, my parrot, asked. He was reading as I was typing a message to my HR group on WhatsApp.
“Hmmm …. It is difficult to say. I mean some feelings are so difficult to capture”
“I understand you. It has been 50 years since you graduated and your Institute which gave you a Master’s degree in Labour Studies. Fifty years!! That’s awesome, man!
“Yessss! Fifty years! I passed out in 1973. It was the year in which Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden and Leander Paes were born.”
“Wow!! Did you say ‘passed out’? Ha ha! Don’t you know what that means?”
“Yes Lulu! It has two meanings and I would say both are true. First meaning is ‘to leave a college after successfully finishing the course, and the second is ‘to become unconscious for a short time, for example when ill, badly hurt, or drunk.’”
“Oh, I was only pulling your leg. Why would you say that the second meaning also is true? That’s a surprise.”
“I got my Master’s degree in 1973. When I entered the industry, I was stunned by my near total lack of readiness to work in the industry. It was like a schoolboy facing Muhammed Ali in the boxing ring. And I was not drunk though!”
“Really? And what was the journey like in the last fifty years?”
“That’s a difficult question to answer. But let me think. I am happy that you are not asking about the achievements; you said ‘journey.’”
“Yes, I did. But surely there would be some things to be proud of.”
“I asked that question to an industrialist who had achieved ‘name and fame.’ He has several achievements to his credit and is a very popular person. What does he feel looking back on his fifty years of career?”
“And what did he say?”
“He said, ‘Life is preordained! Everything is predestined!!’ When you look back at your life, you realize that everything is a product of time, place and the person. And the person’s contribution is negligible.”
“I have spoken to many persons of high achievement and I see this pattern – When people turn sixty, they feel that many of their achievements happened through them, not by them.”
“Now! That’s very interesting. People move from taking credit for their achievements to disowning it! That’s quite a journey!! How about you? Do you also feel the same way?”
“Yes, Lulu! I too feel that life is preordained. Sometimes impossible things happen, sometimes easy things don’t happen. Some people enter your life to change your life forever. And sometimes you enter other people’s life to give their life an unexpected turn.”
“Who would have known that I will marry a girl from Baroda? Ours was an arranged marriage; the families were brought together by a string of coincidences.”
“Marriages are made in heaven. Although Sadhguru says that only the unmarried think so!”
“Trust him to crack a joke! I would rather go by my belief. Coincidences led to us coming together, and she has had a big and positive impact on my life.”
“Interesting! Everything is preordained, eh?”
“Nani Palkhivala says that you have as much free will as a dog on a leash!”
“Dog on a leash! Ha ha!!”
“Fifty-two years ago, I was a young man who felt roundly defeated by his terrible fate. I wanted to get a Doctorate in Biochemistry but landed getting a Master’s degree in Labour Welfare!”
“How do you look back on that happenstance?”
“I feel it was HIS way to prepare me for some future events in my life”
“That’s an interesting explanation”
“I also feel some people came in my life for a reason. Ok, let me put it this way – HE put some people in my life for a reason. They went away after it was accomplished.”
“What I hear you say is that you were a puppet in HIS hands, and you are realizing it as you look back on the last fifty years.”
“How were you making life’s important decisions? Marriage and Career. Not easy choices. And making decisions while facing some tricky situations in life.”
“Yes, I had my share of those situations. I learnt that one must ask his inner self, and follow its diktat. That’s what I did. This way of deciding sometimes gave me success and sometimes failure, but never did it give me pangs of conscience.”
“I heard what your friend Deepa remarked. “He/she/the universe creates a space for you. One which has many possibilities. Which one finally comes your way and what you do is up to you and what you attract.””
I nodded in agreement. Lulu moved closer, fluttered his wings, and hopped on to my shoulder as if to appreciate our agreement.
Vivek S Patwardhan
PS: Feature Pic courtesy: Joshua Earle on Unsplash
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Excellent share VSP. We are only responsible for our actions and values. That’s what gives us happiness, satisfaction and peace of mind. Results, He decides. With best wishes for many more years.
I remember meeting you when you were a student of MILS .
After passing out from MILS , you as well as the corporate world benefitted from each other. However, your greatest contribution has been post retirement from the corporate world, wherein you have been sharing your knowledge, experience and understanding through the educative blog that you regularly write .
All the best for the future.
Dr. Rajen Mehrotra
“When people turn sixty, they feel that many of their achievements happened through them, not by them.” Never were truer words spoken. We’ve been friends for a lot of those 50 years Vivek. Thank you for being written into my life, my friend.
“When people turn sixty, they feel that many of their achievements happened through them, not by them.” I’m one of these people. Seldom were truer words spoken. We go back for a lot of those fifty years Vivek. Thanks very much for happening to me, my friend.
Good one Vivek. Particularly liked the journey from me to accepting the way of the universe.
My last blog on Indispensable drwas a similar conclusion. We have to be open n prepared and never think I made it happen.
Easier said than done for many
Dear VSP, excellent and thought provoking as always. Congratulations on yet another milestone of 50! Several of us are going through similar thoughts, reflections and associated emotions. It is rightly said that the choices you make define the lives we lead. Warm regards.
Thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts on your journey of life . As rightly said , destiny provides various opportunities and it is up to us to make use of the same based on our passion.
VSP You sound like a protagonist of “ Everything Everywhere All at Once”.
Paths that we choose or ordained lead us on a path of life, with an illusion that we traded on it.
So well expressed 👍😊
You innovate always !
Insightful account of your 50 years of professional life.
Congratulations and best wishes.
Kind regards, Rohit
Loved the dialogues VSP Sir. Different perspective of looking at life journey.
Namaskar VSP Sir;
Thanks for making me realise just short of half century a year later to start on lighter note..while you ended article arousing interest then elaborating 50 Rich years of Journey.(may be a Book content)
Yes alot of time “Aham” make so called Fundamental Attribution Error (Rolf Dobelli – Art of thinking Clearly) overestimating individuals impact and underestimate external / situational influence. E.g. for my generation the 1991 economic policy turnaround from brink of collapse to opening of opportunities for professional & IT Service revolution by WITS then.
Which bring to what bade buzurg always said “Appan faqt NIMITA MATRA” & the SHOW GOes ON….looking forward to meet and hear the journey and Wisdom making VSP = Very Special PERSONLAITY.
First of all Congratulations and Salutations for the 50 years of such professional contribution, excellence, devotion and for opening new vistas in your field. You must have impacted thousands of lives and helped grow hundreds of professionals. That is HUGE by any standards. I believe that the universe blesses and conspires to help all those who reach out to whatever they wish pursue with sincerity and purity of heart. And that , my friend is what you are all about. May the universe continue to bestow its generosity on you
Today, I shook hands with Dr Rajan Mehrotra. For the first time.
It was more than putting the face to his name.
How’s that for nothing by chance?